was no need for controlling the flow. The whole point with us is that we do not wish to be left in the hands of this man Backus. Backus got concessions in connection with the building of a power plant at Fort Frances. I lived at Fort Frances during the early construction days, and I know that his agreements with the Dominion Government were cast into the scrap heap and that he put most of his plant on the American side, paying no regard whatever to his agreement. This point was also brought out by the Prime Minister in his remarks this afternoon, with regard to the way agreements had been dealt with by Backus. There is no interference with provincial rights in this legislation. There is as much power at the Norman dam under controlled development as Kenora will ever utilize, and there is no question of harm being done to Kenora's interests. Backus seems to have it in his head that the Canadians are useful only to be exploited by the Yankees on every possible occasion and he has proceeded at all times to exploit the Canadians. If he got complete control he would be put in the position of being able to exploit Manitoba as well as the whole of northwestern Ontario. As I understand it, Backus is an American and his partner Brooks is a senator in the Minnesota legislature. During the time of the war we had a paper controller, and Mr. Backus even defied that official; he has tried to be a law unto himself on every possible occasion. An instance of that is when he started to open one of the outlets of the lake of the Woods without filing any plans with the Public Works Department. He does not seem to have changed for the better at all. I do not think that even the speech of the hon. member for West Lamb-ton will have the effect of making him any better than he has been in the past or less inclined to exploit the public domain in the future.
The member for West Lambton said that if there was no interference with the flow below the dam, everything would be right. Well, it is the interfering with the water at the dam, not below it, that we are raising the hue and cry about. If Backus got control of this dam-and the control that exists at present may be cancelled on thirty days' notice-and took such action as would interfere with the work of the power plants at Winnipeg we would find ourselves without power to run our industries, to light the city or to distribute power throughout the province as is being done at present.
The control at present is absolutely unsatisfactory to the city of Winnipeg, and that being the case we do not propose to let Backus do as he sees fit in this matter. Let him run the Drury Government according to his own fancy and prevent the concurrent legislation from being put through if he wishes. The hon. member for West Lambton agrees with many of the principles advocated with regard to the corttrol but not with regard to the suggested provisions for full control of the height of the dam. He contended that Winnipeg wished to have the primary right to control the flow and wants to be assured that the waters shall always flow. Well, the question of dependable flow does not enter into this. Dependable flow and utilizable flow have been spoken of on many occasions, but in any power plant the dependable flow is certainly the one that is utilized.
One of the hon. gentlemen who spoke has urged that this legislation constituted an interference with northwestern Ontario's commercial growth. But we have no intention of interfering with the growth of Kenora or their control of power; we have intentions though, of interfering with Backus getting control of these waters of the lake of the Woods. If he were to get control of this Norman dam he could stop the supply of water to the power plants at present operating and lay any terms he wished to name to give them the privilege of having this power. Some hon. gentlemen would seem to wish that the Dominion Parliament should put itself in the position that the province of Manitoba might find itself in some day, by catering to this man, who has done nothing but exploit the resources of the country on every possible occasion.
The legislation which is now proposed is fair and just to all. No harm will be done by it to the people of Kenora. One of the speakers said that the provinces could get together and settle this matter even if we did not have this legislation. Well, they can get together just as well after the Bill is passed and settle any disputes that may arise between them. The town of Kenora, so far as I know, has not made any move to send deputations down here with regard to this matter and make representations on behalf of what they deem to be their own interests. They seem to feel that something is wrong, but they have not taken the trouble to find out whether or not that feeling is a supposition not based upon the facts. They are working,, indeed, purely on
supposition. The member for Port Arthur and Kenora (Mr. Keefer) said that everybody wanted control. I am quite satisfied that practically everybody does want control in this matter, but certainly Backus does not.
The question of dependable flow through control of Rainy lake is not a factor in the matter. The Norman dam is 100 miles distant from Rainy lake, and the dam on the Kettle river controls the flow into Rainy lake. There is no reason why the people of Manitoba should be held up and made to pay for the water which at present flows over the dam at Fort Frances to provide power for the Backus interests. Backus is undoubtedly already trying to get paid for the rights which have been granted to him in the water which flows over the Rainy river dam and on into the lake of the Woods, over the Norman dam and down through the power plants of Winnipeg.
I do not need to go into the reasons why the Provincial Legislature did not pass the Bill embodying concurrent legislation. I understand that every group in the Ontario Legislature was in favour of the Backus interests and opposed to the Bill, and that the fate of the legislation introduced by the Premier of Ontario was determined by the extent of the opposition which was put up to the Bill.
There was another report made regarding lac Seul power being destroyed. The people were nervous that the control of the English river Would raise the waters on lac Seul so as to stop the power already developed at lac Seul. Nothing in the Bill gives any reason for alarm on this point.
One outlet for settlement was that the Department of Public Works should withhold consent to present works. The people of Kenora are making much talk about the taking over of the control of this dam. If these works were held up by the Federal Government, the people of Kenora would have some just cause for grievance, and their voice would undoubtedly be heard. No harm is going to be done by this measure to a single citizen of northwestern Ontario or to anyone in Ontario with the exception of Backus, who is the chief opponent of this measure. As the hon. member for Pro-vencher (Mr. Molloy) said, no harm is contemplated even to the Premier of Ontario, and it is only just and right that this Bill should go through.
At six o'clock, the committee rose and the House took recess.
The House resumed at Eight o'clock.